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Taking Care of Business
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Old November 11th, 2010, 10:49 AM   #1
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Accounting Software

For those of you who are Self Proprietors (unincoporated with no other employees), what do you use to keep track of your customers, income, and expenses? Right now I just enter them into an Excel spread sheet. What does everyone else use? I just downloaded of a trial version of Quickbooks and I'm a little overwhelmed by it and thinking it might be over kill. The biggest purpose is to document things for taxes and maybe keep track of what I charged a customer for a similar job on a previous year. One other thing I generally don't report cash earnings but I still like record them. How is something like that handled in Quickbooks?
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Old November 11th, 2010, 11:51 AM   #2
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The nice thing about Quickbooks is that you keep track of your individual client expenses and assuming you coded it right, they automatically show up in the invoice--- assuming that you have an agreement tha calls for payment of those expenses.

I use an old version of quickbooks for my law office, and the invoices it generates are great.

So if you have a lot of customers to keep track of and bill, this is a great way to go. And it also provides many reports that can be used to analyze your business....if you reall want to know how bad things are. :)
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Old November 11th, 2010, 02:55 PM   #3
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I also use Quickbooks. I picked up the 2009 "Pro" version a couple years back, and if anything, it's much more than what I need. It takes a little getting used to, especially since I never had any kind of accounting background, but like most software packages, you'll do better the more you use it and play with it. I do like my version for when tax season rolls around. Since Intuit makes both Quickbooks and TurboTax, it's pretty easy to move all the necessary data over to your tax forms.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 03:08 PM   #4
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I've been using QuickBooks for more than 10 years. While you may not use every function, it's certainly not "overkill". In fact, it barely meets true accounting standards. However, it's simple and it's ubiquitous. That means when you grow enough to need the services of an accountant, any accounting firm can open your QuickBooks file and know what's going on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
One other thing I generally don't report cash earnings but I still like record them.
Nice thing to post on a public message board with your real name. :)
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Old November 11th, 2010, 05:39 PM   #5
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i tried quickbooks, and same as you I was overwhelmed. I only needed a software that can track my expenses and show my accountant at the end of the year. (I invoice client differently)

now, Im using quicken, it is a bit easier i think.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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I use Microsoft Money, which came with a computer I bought about 3 years ago.

It's very easy to use, and customize to fit your income and expense types.

Very good report generator too.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 10:55 PM   #7
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I use Quicken Home and Business under Windows. I say "under windows" because, trom what I can tell, the recent Mac versions of Quicken are next to useless. Quicken H&B -- I'm still using the 2002 edition --- generates estimates and invoices. It lets you allocates and track expenses by client or project. It generally functions as "Quickbooks lite" if you have any understanding of double-entry accounting.

I've helped other folks work with Quickbooks and found that you really need a bit more than a basic understanding of double entry accounting to understand how to set it up and how to run it. If you have employees, if you need to account for time, or if you have inventory to track, Quickbooks is the way to go. But, if you are a one-man-band who has been running Excel spreadsheets, Quicken Home and Business is probably the fastest way to get more capabilities.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 01:02 AM   #8
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The problem I have with Quickbooks is that it isn't double entry accounting and lacks a lot of essential features that protect you against yourself.

I use it and I absolutely HATE it but the effort to switch to a real accounting package is just too much.

One example of a Quickbooks black hole that that can get you in serious trouble with the IRS (from personal experience!) is that there is no concept of closing a year - if you fumble finger an entry and mistype the year, QB will happily stuff it in the incorrect year. A real package will only allow data to be entered for the currently open year so it would flag this as an error. Of course there is a way to open and close prior years when necessary.

See an error on an invoice? Just change it. No need to make sure the data behind the error gets updated or corrected.

This package is a true POS if there ever was one. I absolutely avoid upgrading to any newer version because they all just try to sell you everything under the sun, like forms and checks and whatever - more web based advertising in your face than you can shake a stick at.

I don't just hate it - it's worse than that.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 08:20 AM   #9
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I forgot about Quicken Home and Business. I used that for a few years before I started using QuickBooks. That's a good place to start, plus the info can import into QuickBooks when you outgrow it.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 01:26 AM   #10
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I use Freshbooks for invoicing, expenses and customer management with Quickbooks (which I consider a necessary evil) on the back-end to deal with taxes and such (used mainly by my bookkeeper). Best thing about Freshbooks is that it lets clients login to see their outstanding bills and from my side I can see if/when they've viewed the invoices (no login required for the clients).

There's also a decent iPhone app that lets me invoice on the go (MiniBooks, made by a different company but it's seamless) and track expenses. Highly recommended combo.

https://mediaspigot.freshbooks.com/refer/www
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Old November 15th, 2010, 10:49 AM   #11
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I use Billings to keep track of time, estimates, invoices, and statements. My expenses are tracked in a simple spreadsheet. I wouldn't recommend it if you're a larger business, but as a sole proprietorship in Canada this solution works for me.
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